The 2013 Major League Baseball season got underway yesterday which also signified the much anticipated start of fantasy baseball. Owners got a glimpse of how their team might fare in the long haul that is the fantasy baseball season. One day out of a six month season is by no means decisive but the excitement that fills the ballpark on opening day brings out the best in players and fans alike. Some familiar names started with a bang and other early heroes emerged from unlikely places.
The best season debut was hands down put forth by Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw not only pitched a gem but also came through in the clutch with his bat. He needed just 94 pitches to record a complete game shutout against the San Francisco Giants while striking out seven and walking none along the way. The game was scoreless into the eighth inning until Kershaw took relief pitcher George Kontos deep for his first career home run. At 25, Kershaw could just be entering his prime and belongs in the discussion for the top pitcher in all of baseball.
Dexter Fowler provided some late inning heroics of his own with a two-out home run in the ninth inning to tie the score against the Milwaukee Brewers. Fowler finished the game with a three for five line but his efforts were in vein as Milwaukee went on to win the game in 10 innings. Fowler has the potential to put up big numbers in 2013. After hitting a quiet .300 last season, the Colorado Rockies rewarded Fowler with a contract extension to keep him in town for two more seasons. Fowler got on-base 39% of the time in 2012, an exceptional rate for a leadoff hitter. He’s also the closest thing to a lock to rank among the league leaders in triples.
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees rivalry got underway early with an 8-2 Boston victory. Spring training sensation, Jackie Bradley Jr. had a solid debut. Although his numbers don’t jump off the box score, Bradley worked three walks while scoring two runs and driving in another. It’s even more impressive considering the left-handed Bradley fared this well against C.C. Sabathia. As for Sabathia, his troubles on the mound in the spring carried over to the Bronx. The newly slender Sabathia allowed four runs on eight hits over five innings and took the loss. It’s too early for Yankee fans to be overly concerned about Sabathia but it’s worth questioning whether his new frame could be having an impact on his mechanics. New York will be in trouble if Sabathia doesn’t bounce back quickly.
Across town, the New York Mets season started in style by hanging an 11 spot on the San Diego Padres. New York scored nine of their runs with two outs, capped by a seventh inning grand slam from Colin Cowgill to break the game open. Cowgill also added a double, making an early case that he could be the spark that the Mets need at the top of their lineup. It’s not too early to grab Cowgill if you’re looking in a deep league or are in need of outfield depth.